Former WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Jennifer Howe denies police accounts of her arrest last week
Former WTSP-Ch. 10 anchor Jennifer Howe says she was not drunk when police arrested her last Tuesday on disorderly intoxication charges, disputing the allegations that she may have vandalized her neighbors property.
Howe, 44, said she was sitting on her front porch June 15 when two police officers approached her, accused her of being drunk and disorderly and accused her of vandalizing her neighbor's home. The former newswoman said police refused to perform a Breathalyzer test that she requested to prove she wasn't drunk.
The incident report filed by the St. Petersburg Police said that Howe attempted to walk away from officers while they were trying to question her about plants uprooted at a neighbor's house, yelling curse words and unintelligible statements with slurred speech.
Two days later, Howe was arrested by police on charges of criminal mischief and retaliation against a witness after neighbors complained about ongoing friction after they were subpoenaed to testify in a child custody case involving the former anchor and her ex-husband, former WTSP anchor M.W. "Pat" Minarcin.
In that case, Howe said she had no idea why police might have arrested her and that she is not guilty of the allegations, blaming "a personal friendship that went bad" for the friction with her neighbors..
"I am a recovering alcoholic, I am in treatment and I go to meetings every day that I can," said Howe, who complained to the internal affairs department about how she was treated during her June 15 arrest. "I categorically deny that I had anything to do with vandalism at my neighbor's home.
Howe, who is working at an area department store, said she will use a public defender to fight the charges.
Police spokesman Bill Profitt said internal affairs has asked a supervisor to review the officers’ actions and see if there were any violations of policy. But Howe’s complaint did not rise to the level of an official complaint and won't be investigated by internal affairs itself.
Times staff writer Jamal Thalji contributed to this report.